Base closure panel begins four-month deliberations

Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission Chairman Anthony Principi on Tuesday swore in eight commissioners, officially kicking off four frenzied months of analysis and coast-to-coast travel that might result in major changes at more than 100 domestic military installations.

During the first of three sessions planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, commissioners received a quick tutorial from GAO and Congressional Research Service analysts on the base-closing process, as well as lessons learned from four previous rounds in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995.

The most important lesson taken from previous commissions is to adhere to base-closure selection criteria and procedures, said Barry Holman, GAO director of defense capabilities and management. By following procedures, the commission will "ensure the integrity of the process and ensure the confidence of the American public," Holman added, cautioning that the commission's work could be hampered by even a "slight deviation" from the process.

The 2005 BRAC round promises to differ significantly from the previous rounds. Commissioners, for instance, will place a greater emphasis on a base's military value -- essentially how they fit into the Pentagon's operations and vast transformation plans -- as they analyze Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's list of base-closing recommendations. The commission also will weigh more heavily a base's joint capabilities and ability to perform cross-service missions.

Commission members expressed concern Tuesday about the cost savings associated with BRAC and the effectiveness of previous rounds. Philip Coyle, a Pentagon appointee in the Clinton administration, asked why the military still has as much as 25 percent excess capacity after the closure of hundreds of facilities during the 1990s. Holman replied that the military still felt it had too much infrastructure after the 1995 round, adding that the commission should wait until the list comes out to get a "better handle on excess capacity."

Other commissioners asked about a potential loophole -- raised by lawmakers -- that might prevent the military from closing National Guard bases without the consent of the governor of the affected state. "We ought to get that resolved as quickly as possible," said former Transportation Secretary Skinner.

After the hearing, Principi would not comment on the possible National Guard loophole, stating that it is an "issue for lawyers to decide on."

Rumsfeld is expected to release his list next week, Principi said. The commission then has four months to analyze the department's findings before submitting its list of recommendations to the White House by Sept. 8.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.